How often gutters need to be cleaned depends on the part of the country and whether there are nearby trees. If you live in the Arizona desert, you may be able to go several years, but for those who live where autumn leaves fall, it's important to clean gutters at least twice a year.
The most important time is in late fall after all or most of the leaves have come down. Most deciduous trees also drop debris in the spring, so an early summer cleaning is important as well. Those who live in heavily wooded areas may find it necessary to clear the gutters three or four times a year.
Homeowners can clean their own gutters using an extension ladder and by scooping the leaves out by hand or with a short broom. Smaller debris can be washed out with a garden hose.
Always make sure the downspouts are not clogged and that they are carrying water away from the house foundation.
Hiring a gutter cleaning service:
Many homeowners hire gutter cleaning services for this task. Cost will vary depending on the size of your house, but a ballpark estimate would be around $175.
This can be a particularly good choice for homeowners who have gutters that are difficult to reach, or who no longer feel physically comfortable doing the job themselves.
But there's another group of homeowners who ought to consider hiring a service -- those who for whatever reason just don't get around to doing the job themselves. You know who your are. Remember, the worst choice is to neglect it because that will cost more in the long run. If you want to do it yourself, that's fine -- as long as you actually get around to it.
Hiring a good gutter cleaning service is like anything else -- you need to be careful who you pick. Make sure the company has insurance and a good track record. If you join Angie's List, you will be able to search for gutter cleaning companies in your community and see which ones have been given good recommendations from past customers.